The Covid-19 vaccination is a crucial part of our efforts to overcome the pandemic and start to return to normal life. Without a vaccine there will always be a risk that new outbreaks of the disease will emerge.
Key points about the vaccines:
- They are proven to reduce the chance of people suffering from severe Covid
- They have been through all the same careful safety checks as other vaccines we routinely use (even though they were developed very quickly)
- Most side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm where the needle went in
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
COVID-19 3 'A's Tool:
This tool is to help practitioners and volunteers have short conversations (deliver very brief interventions) with people to encourage uptake of a Covid-19 vaccine. Some members of the public may be hesitant about receiving a vaccination. This tool helps us to handle conversations with such people.
- Getting the conversation going
- Using questions and reflections to get the person talk about what they feel
- Building understanding and assessing how you might help
- Deciding what information to offer
Once you understand the person’s views and feelings
- Offering appropriate information and advice
- Ensuring it’s personalised, tailored and appropriate
- Clarifying next steps
- Strengthening person’s intention/plan to get vaccinated
- Booking an appointment / Signposting to further info or GP
The 3 ‘A’s approach is a simple structure for conversations to help them flow. It also ensures we listen to peoples’ concerns, reassure them and, as a minimum, keep them open to the idea of getting a Covid-19 vaccine.
See below for ideas and tips for each step in the conversation.
Very Brief Intervention
Have you had a chance to think about booking your COVID-19 vaccination?
Has anyone been in touch about your Covid vaccine yet?
I’m just following up on the letter you should have received inviting you to book a Covid-19 vaccination. Did you want to book a time for your jab?
If yes, book appointment (See ACT section)
If unsure, a quick conversation will be particularly useful: ask about their concerns e.g. Some people do have questions or concerns about the vaccines. I’m interested to hear what you think. Would it be okay if we discussed those?
If a definite no, reaffirm it’s their decision and if they change their mind to get in touch.
Do you have any concerns or worries about taking a Covid-19 jab?
Don’t pressure the person.
Listen, then say back what you’ve heard.
Don’t take sides, just sum-up the pros and cons as they see it.
May I share some information that might ease some of your concerns?
It’s great that you’re taking an interest in the vaccine. The information I’ve read has reassured me about lots of these issues. Would you like me to share it with you?
May I share the reasons how the vaccines were developed so quickly, then you can tell me what you think?
Lots of the hold-ups developing vaccines are getting funding and finding enough people to test it on. That’s not been a problem with the Covid vaccines.
It was possible because scientists were focused on finding a way to beat Covid and had already developed similar vaccines for other types of coronaviruses.
Would you like to hear about how scientists ensured the vaccine is safe?
We have strict criteria to make sure medicines and vaccines are safe before we roll them out to the public, rest assured you are not a guinea pig.
The Covid vaccines have been tested on tens of thousands of people from a variety of backgrounds and ages, including those with medical issues. They were found to be very safe and effective in preventing Covid infection.
Although they have been developed very quickly, they have been through all the same checks as other vaccines we routinely use.
The Covid-19 vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people all over the world and was found to be very safe and effective.
Would you like to hear some of the expected benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations?
The latest medical knowledge is saying that the immunity you will get from the vaccine may be longer lasting than any natural immunity.
The faster we get people vaccinated, the faster we can get back to normality; whether that’s school, work, or seeing our family and friends.
The vaccine does not have any virus in it. It only contains a component from the virus that will make your body recognise the Covid virus if you ever encounter it in the future - think of it as memory. If you do pick up the virus in real life, your body will kill the virus straightaway and you shouldn’t feel unwell.
Vaccines work by getting your body ready to fight off the virus. It’s not the vaccine that deals with it, it’s your body that fights it off.
Without a vaccine there will always be a risk that new outbreaks of the disease will emerge. Ultimately the vaccine programme is to stop people suffering with the virus and save lives.
Would you like some further information on the vaccine in relation to fertility (female and male)/pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Thinking of getting pregnant? - There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines will affect your chances of getting pregnant and you don’t have to avoid getting pregnant after having the vaccine.
I’m pregnant, can I have the vaccine? -
- Vaccination is currently only being offered to pregnant women who are either
- at very high risk of catching the infection - including health and social care workers
- Or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19
- Pregnant women should have a discussion with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision about having the vaccine based on their individual circumstances
I’m breastfeeding, can I have the vaccine?
- The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK and the World Health Organisation recommend that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding.
- The benefits of breastfeeding are well established and there is no known risk in giving COVID-19 vaccines to breastfeeding women.
- You do not need to discard breastmilk following the vaccination
If you are trying to conceive, or pregnant or breastfeeding and are unsure whether to have the vaccine, discuss it with a trusted source like your midwife, health visitor or doctor.
How do you feel knowing this information?
Can I share some more resources with you?
Who can get a Covid-19 Vaccine?
Everyone aged 12 and over, and some children aged 5 to 11, can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
People aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, can also get a booster dose.
Children can get a 1st dose of the vaccine from the day they turn 12.
Most children can get a 2nd dose from 12 weeks after they had their 1st dose.
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not at high risk from COVID-19, they need to wait 12 weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine.
This starts from the date of their positive PCR test.
Covid-19 Booster dose
A booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is available for everyone aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, who have had 2 doses of the vaccine at least 3 months ago.
If you have not booked your appointments yet, you're still eligible and can book anytime.
Ask if they have any access needs in order to take up the vaccine – from appointments in accessible format and follow up reminder and reassurance calls, to provision of wheelchairs accessible transport, to having facilities for guide dogs.
Agree to speak again
Signpost them to reliable information:
- COVID-19 vaccine information - NHS
- COVID-19 information and extensive commonly asked questions sections – British Society for Immunology
- COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Toolkit - DCMS
- COVID-19: Vaccination programme FAQ explainer videos - PHE - COVID-19 FAQ explainer videos to answer the frequently asked questions about the types of vaccines including eligibility, safety, at-risk groups, rollout, intervals, common side effects, importance of two doses, who needs the vaccine and many more.
More useful resources to support your conversations:
- COVID-19 Resource centre - PHE
- Easy read – A guide to your COVID-19 vaccination for people with a learning disability and their carers - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults – available in multiple languages - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers – available in multiple languages - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for social care staff – available in multiple languages - PHE
- Video of Dr Vanessa Apea discussing building trust within BAME communities – Barts Health Trust
- COVID-19 Vaccine information sheet for pregnant women - Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Young People’s Engagement Toolkit – Hackney council
- Young People’s Engagement Toolkit animation – Hackney council
- COVID-19 vaccination: British Sign Language resources - PHE
Further information relating to fertility:
For the latest information, check out:
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding – Public Health England
- COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding – Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Information sheet and decision aid for pregnant women – Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- COVID-19 vaccines and fertility – British Fertility Society
- Covid: Claims vaccinations harm fertility unfounded - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56012529
Local Support and Contact Details
This page is updated regularly. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination visit www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine
Covid-19 Vaccination Programme - What you need to know
Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. An effective vaccine is the best way to protect people from coronavirus. Following extensive trials, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have been approved in the UK and the NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme has started.